The transition from soccer to kicker isn’t a hard one to see, after all soccer at its most basic form is just kicking. And it’s the one that West Virginia kicker Casey Legg had to make years ago.
It came after a soccer game, when an opponent’s parent asked his mother if he had ever played football. He hadn’t even consider playing football before that question, but thought about it right after.
And not long after that, he went to a field and started kicking.
“I remember it clearly,” said Legg on his first time kicking. “I think it was a Wednesday in October of 2017. Before we went out there, I had to go to Dick’s and buy a football. I had one of those old orange tees…
“I brought it out to Laidley Field. I remember kicking and I loved it.”
The West Virginia soccer state championship didn’t go to WVU with the intention of being a collegiate athlete, but he tried out with the team in 2018. He made it, and even kicked off. He made his first and only tackle that year, something he wishes he doesn’t have to do a second time.
But it isn’t the tackling that has been the biggest challenge for him. The 2022 preseason All-Big 12 media first team kicker’s biggest challenge was the mental battle that comes with the kicking role.
That comes with the internal pressure, like holding yourself accountable on a missed kick, or the external pressure, like a fanbase taking out their anger on a player for a missed kick. Both can be extreme, just ask WVU alumnus Pat McAfee who has been very open about the death threats he received in the aftermath of the 2007 loss to Pittsburgh.
“That’s the hardest part, making sure you are ready to deal with the pressure of kicking. To deal with the pressure and trust whatever your process is is all mental preparation,” he said. “I try to ignore the outcome of the kick, but I really struggle with that and have since I started kicking.”
Legg has worked hard to improve how he handles the pressure during his time at WVU. In addition to his faith, he works with the team’s psychologist Adrian Ferrera and reads books, such as Mind Gym.
And to his credit, it’s worked to the point that he’s gotten preseason accolades this off-season. And the numbers last year on field goal attempts, 19-23 (82.61%) also correlate to success.